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HISTORY 4AW3 Atlantic Crossings, 1750-1940

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Michael Gauvreau

Email: mgauvrea@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 625

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24130


Office Hours: Wednesdays 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Course Objectives:

Recently David Armitage has stated that “we are all Atlanticists now”, a bold claim which has signaled a major shift in the way historians have sought to reinterpret the histories of Britain, the United States and Canada.  A host of historians now explore the transfer of ideas, social patterns, and institutions across the Atlantic in a broader effort to challenge the traditional analysis of the nation-state.  This course is intended as a comparative and trans-national discussion of the social, cultural and political changes which occurred in Britain and British North America, both before and after the American Revolution.  It will address a variety of themes including the origins and impact of the Seven Year’s War and the American Revolution; cultural contacts between European and Amerindian peoples; changing ideas of empire and nation; how religion and practices of consumption connected peoples across the Atlantic; conceptions of gender relations and family; and finally it will explore the Loyalist migrations and the social and political impact of the counter-revolution after 1791.   The goal of the course is to find general patterns in Atlantic history by interweaving the narratives of the New World and the Old.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution


T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution


Nancy Christie, ed., Transatlantic Subjects


Allan Greer, The Patriots and the People


Sarah Knott, Sensibility and the American Revolution


Michal Jan Rozbicki, Culture and Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution

Method of Assessment:

Seminar Participation (includes weekly contribution and one presentation):  30%

NB:  Seminars are an opportunity for informed exchange and discussion, in which a premium is placed upon verbal interaction with your peers around questions and issues stimulated by the readings.  Because of the nature of the seminar, please refrain during class time from using laptops and all other forms of electronic note-taking.


Short Discussion Paper:  10% (1000 words, 4-5 pages, due one week after your presentation)


Book Review:  10% (write a 1500-word, 6-7 page book review of T.H. Breen’s The Marketplace of Revolution.  This should not be a recapitulation of the contents, but an assessment and discussion of the author’s main arguments, methodology, evidence, and an assessment of the overall contribution to the debate on the origins of the American Revolution, critically examined in light of the other seminar readings you have done).

Due:  Oct. 19.  Note:  those students who have taken History 3HI3 – Age of Revolutions in either winter term 2015 or winter term 2016 will be required to substitute Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.


Major Essay:  50% (due Nov. 30, 2016 electronically) 

Attendance at, and participation in, weekly seminars is mandatory.  Students who miss a seminar will have to see me in order to arrange for additional written work to make up the readings they have not done. If you miss your seminar presentation for reasons of illness, religious observance, or significant personal reasons, you can make up the mark by submitting a 5-page (1000 word) critical discussion within two weeks on a historiographic subject of my choice.


In addition, each student will be required to lead one seminar discussion, which will involve a 10-minute overview of the central themes and questions.  One week after your presentation, you will be required to submit a 1000-word (4-5 pages) discussion of the seminar readings you have presented organized around significant questions and historical debates. 



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Students are strongly advised to retain a xerox copy of any written work submitted for a part of their mark.  Assignments may be submitted electronically, but you are strongly advised to keep a hard copy of all written work.  In addition, it is your personal responsibility to ensure the good working order of all electronic equipment (including your email program) as late assignments will not be accepted due to computer malfunction. 


Note:  Late essays will be subjected to a penalty of 5% per day (weekends included). 

Extensions or other accommodations will only be considered if the instructor receives the appropriate documentation.  The McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) constitutes appropriate documentation. If you are unable to use the MSAF, you should document the absence with your faculty office. There will be no rescheduling of any seminar, presentation, or assignment for the purposes of personal travel. 



Modifications to Course Outline

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Seminar Schedule and Readings:


Sept. 7:  Introduction 


Sept. 14:  Theorizing the Atlantic 


J.G.A. Pocock, “The Limits and Divisions of British History:  In Search of the Unknown Subject,” American Historical Review (AHR), 87:2 (1982), 311-336 (JSTOR)


David Armitage, “Three Concepts of Atlantic History,” in David Armitage and Michael Braddick, eds., The British Atlantic World, 11-27.(R)


Peter A Coclanis, “Atlantic World or Atlantic\World?”, William and Mary Quarterly (WMQ), 3rd series, 63:4 (Oct. 2006), 725-742. (JSTOR)


Bernard Bailyn, “On the Contours of Atlantic History,” in Bernard Bailyn, Atlantic History:  Concept and Contours (2005), 59-111 (R)


Nancy Christie, “Introduction:  Theorizing a Colonial Past:  Canada as a Society of British Settlement,” in Nancy Christie, ed., Transatlantic Subjects:  Ideas, Institutions and Social Experience in Post-Revolutionary British North America (2008), 3-41.



Sept. 21:  Imperial Meridian:  The Seven Years’ War 


P.J. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires:  Britain, India and America, c1750-1783(2005), chapters, 3, 5, 6.  (e-book)


Kathleen Wilson, “Empire of Virtue:  the Imperial Project and Hanoverian Culture, c1720-1785,” in Lawrence Stone, ed., An Imperial State at War:  Britain from 1689-1815, 128-64. (R)


Jack P. Greene, “The Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution:  The Causal Relationship Reconsidered,” in Peter Marshall and Glyn Williams, eds., The British Atlantic Empire Before the American Revolution (1980), 87-107. (e-resource)


Daniel K Richter, Facing East from Indian Country:  A Native History of Early America (2001), 189-236. (e-resource)





Sept. 28:  Imperial and Colonial Hybridities in the Fur Trade  


Jennifer S.H. Brown, Strangers in Blood:  Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country(1980), chapters 3, 6. (e-resource)


Arthur J. Ray, Indians in the Fur Trade(1974), chapters 4 and 5.(e-book)


Laura J Murray, “What did Christianity Do for Joseph Johnson? A Mohegan Preacher and His Community,” in Robert Blair St. George, ed., Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in Early America (2000), 160-180 (R)


Anne Laura Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties:  The Politics of Comparison in North American History (and Post-Colonial Studies),” Journal of American History, 88:3 (Dec. 2001), 829-865 (JSTOR) 




Oct. 5:  Republican Ideas and the ‘Radical’ Origins of the American Revolution


Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution(1992), pgs 22-159. 


Eliga Gould, The Persistence of Empire:  British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution (2000), chapter 4.   (R)


Joyce O. Appleby, “The social origins of American revolutionary ideology,” Journal of American History, 64:4 (March 1978), 935-958 (JSTOR). 


Nicole Eustace, Passion is the Gale:  Emotion, Power and the Coming of the American Revolution(2008), chapter 9. (R)


Oct. 12:  Fall Reading Break – No Class






Oct. 19: Anglicization and the Revolution 


T.H. Breen,  Marketplace of Revolution:  How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (2004), chapters 33-101, 148-192, 195-293. 


Brendan McConville, The King’s Three Faces:  The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 (2006), chapter 6.(R) 


Linda Colley, Britons:  Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (1992), 11-54. (e-resource)


Nancy Rhoden, “The American Revolution (1):  the Paradox of Atlantic Integration”, in Stephen Foster, ed., British North America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 255-88 (R)

Book Reviews of T.H. Breen or Bernard Bailyn Due!!!!



Oct. 26:  Gender:  Changing Spheres of Public and Private


Linda Kerber, “The Republican Mother:  Women and the Enlightenment:  An American Perspective,” American Quarterly, 28:2 (1976), 187-205. (JSTOR)


Ruth H Bloch, The Gendered Meanings of Virtue in Revolutionary America,” Signs, 13 (Autumn 1987), 37-58 (JSTOR)


Amanda Vickery, “Golden Age to Separate Spheres?  A Review of the Categories and Chronology of English Women’s History,” Historical Journal, 36:2 (June 1993), 383-414 (JSTOR)  


Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches and Anxious Patriarchs:  Gender, Race and Power in Colonial Virginia (1996), chapter 10.


Carole Shammas, ‘Anglo-American Household Government in Comparative Perspective,” WMQ, 3rd ser. 52 (Jan. 1995), 104-144.(JSTOR)


Sarah Knott, Sensibility and the American Revolution, 1-22, 105-51.


Book Reviews of T.H. Breen Due!!!!!!






Nov. 2:  Between Liberation and Slavery:  The Post-Revolutionary Black Atlantic


Michal Jan Rozbicki, Culture and Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution, 1-15, 17-33, 78-131. (R)


Philip D. Morgan, “The Black Experience in the British Empire, 1680-1810”, in P.J. Marshall, ed., The Eighteenth Century:  The Oxford History of the British Empire, Vol. 2, 465-486. (R)


Wim Klooster, “Slave Revolts, Royal Justice, and a Ubiquitous Rumor in the Age of Revolutions”, William and Mary Quarterly, 71:3 (July 2014), 401-24 (JSTOR)


Robin Blackburn, “Haiti, Slavery and the Age of Democratic Revolution,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 63:4 (Oct. 2006). (e-resource)


Matthew Mason, “The Battle of the Slaveholding Liberators:  Great Britain, the United States, and Slavery in the Early Nineteenth Century,” William and Mary Quarterly, 59:3 (July 2003). (e-resource)


Steven Deyle, “An ‘abominable’ New Trade:  The Closing of the African Slave Trade and the Changing Patterns of U.S. Political Power, 1808-60,” William and Mary Quarterly, 66:4 (Oct. 2009). (e-resource)




Nov. 9:  The Problem of “Britishness”


Jack P. Greene, “Empire and Identity from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution”, in P.J. Marshall, ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire, Vol. 2, the Eighteenth Century, 208-30. (R)


Dror Wahrman, “The English Problem of Identity in the American Revolution”, American Historical Review, 106:4 (Oct. 2001), 1236-1262.


Michael Gauvreau, “The Dividends of Empire:  Church Establishments and Contested British Identities in the Canadas and the Maritimes, 1780-1850”, in Christie, Transatlantic Subjects, 199-250.


Brad A. Jones, “’In Favour of Popery’:  Patriotism, Protestantism, and the Gordon Riots in the Revolutionary British Atlantic”, Journal of British Studies, 52:1 (Jan. 2013), 79-102. (JSTOR)


Linda Colley, “Britishness and Otherness:  An Argument”, Journal of British Studies, 31:4 (1992), 309-29 (JSTOR)


David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes:  The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (Introduction, Chapter 3)(R)




Nov. 16:  The Politics of Counter-Revolution in the Atlantic World


Eliga Gould, “American independence and Britain’s counter-revolution,” Past and Present, n154 (Feb. 1997), 107-35 (JSTOR)


Terry Bouton, Taming Democracy:  ‘The People’, the Founders and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution (2007), chapter 3.  (e-resource)


Eliga Gould, “A Virtual Nation:  Greater Britain and the Imperial Legacy of the American Revolution,” AHR, 104 (1999), 576-89.(JSTOR)


Nancy Christie, “’He is the master of his house’:  Families and Political Authority in Counterrevolutionary Montreal”, William and Mary Quarterly, 70:2 (April 2013), 341-70. (JSTOR)


Gary B Nash, The Unknown American Revolution:  The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America (2005), chapter 8.(R) 


Sarah Knott, Sensibility and the American Revolution, 265-322.




Nov. 23:  The World of the Loyalists


Jerry Bannister, “Canada as a Counter-Revolution:  The Loyalist Order Framework in Canadian History, 1750-1840,” in Jean-Francois Constant and Michel Ducharme, eds., Liberalism and Hegemony:  Debating the Canadian Liberal Revolution (2009), 98-146.(R) 


Keith Mason, “The American Loyalist Diaspora and the Reconfiguration of the British Atlantic World,” in  Eliga H Gould and Peter S Onuf, eds., Empire and Nation:  the American Revolution in the Atlantic World(2005), 239-259.(R)


D.G. Bell, Early Loyalist St John:  The Origin of New Brunswick Politics (1983), chapter 6.(R)


Jane Errington and George Rawlyk, “The Loyalist-Federalist Alliance of Upper Canada,” American Review of Canadian Studies, 14:2 (1984), 157-176. (in stacks).  


Nancy Christie, “’In these times of Democratic Rage and Delusion’”, in G.A.Rawlyk, ed., The Canadian Protestant Experience, 1760-1990, pp. 9-47 (R)


Jeffrey McNairn, The Capacity to Judge, chapter 1. (e-resource)  





Nov. 30:  Contesting Aristocratic Values


Jeffrey McNairn, The Capacity to Judge, chapter 5. (e-resource)     


Nancy Christie, “’The Plague of Servants’:  Female Household Labour and the Making of Classes in Upper Canada,” in Christie, Transatlantic Subjects, 83-132.


Gerald Bernier and Daniel Sallée, The Shaping of Quebec Politics and Society:  Colonialism, Power and the Transition to Capitalism in the 19th Century (1992), chapter 3.(R) 


S.J.R. Noel, Patrons, Clients and Brokers (1990), chapter 4.(R)


Allan Greer, The Patriots and the People, 3-20, 120-52, 258-93.


Major Essays Due!!!!!!!!